For the first time in Billboard’s history, YouTube streams, including user-generated content, will be factored into the Billboard 200 albums chart, according to HITS Daily Double.
It remains to be seen how this move will be received by the music industry. It’s also currently unclear when this change will take effect, as Billboard has yet to make any official announcement.
If this holds true, YouTube streams would boost record sales figures, but so would user-generated clips that incorporate songs in them. This may also further benefit content creators, who cut promotional deals with companies for posts on popular accounts. It is unclear how, if at all, this will be policed by Billboard.
Streaming changes have been criticized by artists and labels in the past. In February 2016, Top Dawg Entertainment CEO Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith bashed the new Recording Industry Association of America’s shifting policy on streaming. “we don’t stand behind this @RIAA bs,” he wrote. “ole skool rules apply, 1 million albums sold is platinum.until we reach that #, save all the congrats.”
More recently, JAY-Z voiced his concerns over how Billboard charts are calculated. “We don’t know how people are consuming things today. It’s all over the place,” he told the Rap Radar podcast. “I’m an artist and it’s my music so I can do what I want with it. That’s the one thing I get. I get to present it to the world the way I like. Whether [Billboard] counts it or not is insignificant to me. It still happened. People still have the album. I still made the transaction with whomever I made the transaction with so the money came in, the album went out, it touched peoples’ hands. Whether you count it or not, it’s insignificant. It still happened.”